Buy/Drive/Burn: Three Cars, One Platform - 2002 DEW Edition
Last time on Buy/Drive/Burn, we checked out three C-body offerings from General Motors and forced you to choose one. The luxury flowed freely, and only limited salt was dashed upon its splendor.
Today we follow the same form with Ford, looking at offerings from three different brands riding on the same platform. Crack open a DEW and let’s get to it.
The DEW platform was developed for use by Ford and cars in the Premier Automotive Group (PAG). PAG was a grouping of Ford’s luxury automotive brands, an idea generated under CEO Jacques Nasser in 1999. Aston Martin, Lincoln, Jaguar/Land Rover, and Volvo were all grouped under the prestigious PAG umbrella. By 2002, the midsize rear-drive DEW underpinned three different Ford vehicles, so that’s our year of discussion.
Jaguar S-Type 4.2
Jaguar’s new S-Type debuted for the 2000 model year, aimed squarely at the North American market. Vintage retro cues combined with modern tech in an entry that was smaller and more sporty than the XJ flagship sedan. The intent here was to draw younger and sporting-prone affluent customers to Jaguar’s fusty showrooms. For 2002 the S-Type’s V8 was enlarged from 4.0 to 4.2 liters, bringing horsepower to an even 300. 2002 was also the last year for the S-Type’s initial interior design with U-shaped center console. Navigation was not an option, but leather and walnut wood covered most surfaces in traditional fashion. The S-Type R added a supercharger to the 4.2 V8, but that sleek barnstormer is outside our purposes today.
Lincoln LS 3.9
The other sedan offered on the DEW at the time, Lincoln’s new LS, had much the same mission as the S-Type: offer a sporty sedan for young, upscale customers. Compared to the S-Type, the LS was considerably more modern. And while it bore resemblance to the other contemporary Lincoln offerings, it didn’t take part in any retro throwbacks. Due to its close relation to the Jaguar, the LS was offered with Jaguar-designed V6 or V8 engines. Base models were powered by the 3.0-liter AJ30 engine, also shared with lower-end S-Types. The altered AJ V8 was a shrunken 3.9-liter Jaguar design, used only by Ford and Lincoln and built in Ohio. Through 2002, the 3.9 made 252 horsepower, with an upgrade to 280 horses in 2003.
Only one coupe ever rested atop the DEW, and it was Ford’s brand new Thunderbird. Introduced for the 2002 model year, the sporting coupe had been on hiatus from Ford’s lineup after the 1997 model year, and the Blue Oval made a big deal of its return. The new Thunderbird leaned heavily on then-popular retro styling, just like the S-Type. It bathed itself in cues from historic Thunderbirds of yore. Seating only two people in its cockpit, the Thunderbird’s retro exterior did not carry over to its interior. Many components and materials were shared with the LS, with a few some model-specific trim items and fonts. For its introductory year, Thunderbird carried the same 252-horsepower 3.9-liter V8 as the Lincoln LS. The shortest-lived of our trio, the Thunderbird lasted only through 2005 before its cancellation.
Two sedans, one convertible: Which DEW is for you?
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